J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

The Viola Through The Ages (Vol. 1)

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Josef Suk
Soloists:Josef Suk
Zuzana Ruzickova
Individual Works:Sonata for viola and harpsichord, BWV 1020 (Orig flute or violin sonata)
Sonata for viola and harpsichord, BWV 1022 (Orig. violin sonata)
Three sonatas for viola and obigato harpsichord BWV 1027, BWV 1028, BWV 1029 (Orig. three sonatas for viola da gamba)
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Harmonia Mundi, Praga Digitals
Catalog Number:PRD 250 103/HMCD 90
Year Released/Recorded:1996
Total Playing Time:64'09''
Comments:Assen Kantchev said:

THE WORKS: Sonatas 1020 and 1022 (previously attributed to Bach) is what made me purchase this recording on a first place. BWV 1022 is a late baroque work (attributed now to CPE Bach, 1740), with clear structure and brilliant harmonies, in the form of a three movement concerto. Unfortunately, this marvelous work is not widely recorded, J. S. Bach's authorship being denied. BWV 1020 is a 4 movement sonata-da-chiesa for violin and continuo. Autorship has not been claimed yet. The rest of the music on this CD consists of the three popular sonatas for gamba and obligato harpsichord, here performed on viola.

THE RECORDING: Good sound quality (DDD) and good balance between harpsichord and string instrument. The performance of the soloists is outstanding. Although these works have not been conceived for viola, this performance proves an excellent variation of sound. The sound of the viola is deeper and not as shrill as the violino. The gamba sonatas also sound marvelously on this recording. The booklet (Fr., Ger., Engl.) contains notes on the history of the viola, brief notes about the works and biographical sketches for both performers. On a personal note, Z. Ruzickova is one of my most favourite harpsichord players and her performance here is outstanding. BWV 1029 (part 1) sounds as powerful and compelling as any of the Bach violin concertos.

Jan Hanford said:

An outstanding recording. Josef Suk uses quite a lot of vibrato, which is unusual these days given the dogma of HIP performance practise. It's lovely. The inclusion of BWV 1022 is very exciting as there are so few recordings of this excellent work. A highly recommended recording.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Assen Kantchev
And from the collection of Jan Hanford.
Date First Submitted:10/31/2001